ROCKSPRINGS, Ohio — Two birds, one stone.
Senior Coulter Cleland became the 12th basketball player in school history to reach 1,000 career points while guiding the Meigs boys basketball team to its first win of the season Friday night during an 80-76 decision over visiting Belpre in a non-conference matchup at Larry R. Morrison Gymnasium.
The Marauders (1-2) found themselves in a 19-9 hole after the first quarter and were down by 15 points (25-10) early in the second, but the hosts started a monumental comeback bid that ultimately resulted in a 28-17 surge that gave MHS a slim 37-36 edge at the break.
Cleland — who was limited to just two points in the first half — erupted with 14 points in the third frame, including a make on the second of two free throws at the 4:37 mark that pushed his career total to 1,000 points while extending the Meigs advantage out to 45-38.
The Maroon and Gold ultimately won the third quarter by a 21-11 margin and owned a 61-47 lead headed into the finale.
The Golden Eagles made a 29-19 surge down the stretch, but ultimately never came closer than the final 2-possession margin.
Cleland is just the fifth male basketball player at Meigs to surpass quadruple digits in his career, joining the likes Mike Chancey, Trevor Harrison, Daniel Hannan and former teammate Weston Baer.
Jenny Miller, Amber Vining, Samantha Pierce, Catie Wolfe, Morgan Howard, Kassidy Betzing and current senior Mallory Hawley are the remaining members of the 1,000-point club on the girls side.
After the victory, Cleland spoke about his milestone — particularly all of the people that helped him reach it.
“It feels good to get this weight off my shoulders and now we can all focus on the team,” Cleland said. “Thanks to all of my teammates over the last four years, they have made this easier. I want to share this with them because without them, it wouldn’t be possible.”
The Marauders netted 26 total field goals — including nine 3-pointers — and also went 19-of-27 at the free throw line for 70 percent.
Cleland led the hosts with 20 points, followed by Braylon Harrison with 19 points and Ethan Stewart with 15 points. Harrison and Stewart also combined for 20 points during that pivotal second quarter surge.
Brayden Stanley was next with nine points and Chase Garcia chipped in seven points, while Griffin Cleland added five markers as well. Brody Butcher and Caleb Burnem contributed two points each and Morgan Roberts completed the winning tally with one point.
Blake Church paced Belpre with a game-high 21 points, followed by Matthew Deem with 13 points and Jake Alkier with 11 markers.
Meigs returns to action Tuesday when it welcomes Eastern in a non-conference matchup of Meigs County programs at 7 p.m.
Ohio Valley Publishing correspondent Dave Harris contributed to this report.
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Bryan Walters can be reached at 740-446-2342, ext. 2101.